LNG shipments will be affected by Red Sea attacks: Qatar PM

AFP , Tuesday 16 Jan 2024

Liquefied natural gas shipments will be affected by tensions in the Red Sea, Qatar's prime minister said on Tuesday, warning that US and UK military strikes on Yemen risk aggravating the crisis.

Qatari PM
Mohammed Bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the State of Qatar attends the Annual Meeting of World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2024. AP


"LNG is... as any other merchant shipments. They will be affected by that," Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani told the World Economic Forum in Davos, referring to the increasing exchanges with Yemen's Houthi rebels.

"There are alternative routes, those alternative routes are not more efficient, they're less efficient than the current route," he added.

Rather than use the key route between Asia and European markets, the Suez Canal, which normally carries about 12 percent of global maritime trade, some shipping companies are now taking a major detour around southern Africa.

Bloomberg reported on Monday that at least five LNG vessels operated by Qatar had stopped en route to the Red Sea.

Sheikh Mohammed said the "central issue" of Gaza, where the Israeli war on the territory has been raging on, must be addressed to calm the situation in the Red Sea.

He added: "(Military intervention) will not bring an end for this, will not contain it. So the contrary, I think will create... a further escalation."

His comments come after US and British forces hit scores of targets across Yemen on Friday following weeks of attacks by Houthi rebels in response to Israel's brutal war on the Gaza Strip.

Then on Sunday, US forces shot down a Houthi cruise missile targeting an American destroyer, and on Monday a US-owned cargo ship in the Gulf of Oman was hit by another Houthi missile.

The Houthis had been targeting Israeli-linked vessels to pressure Israel into bringing a halt to its ground invasion and to allow unfettered aid access for Gaza but after Friday's attacks, they declared US and British interests "legitimate targets".

The Qatari premier called the Red Sea crisis "the most dangerous escalation right now because it's not affecting only the region, it's affecting the global trade as well", as fears rise that Israel's war on Gaza could spark a regional conflict.

*This story was edited by Ahram Online

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